Gill Stannard

Monday, January 15, 2007

Putting healthy resolutions into action

Some people resolve to climb Mt Everest and manage to knock it off, while others can’t seen to make their once a week walk a reality. So what is the key to a happy and healthy New Year? One word – Planning.

Before you set your plan into action take a few moments to work on the why, how and when.

Why do you want to this? What’s your motivation for change? Is this something you deeply want to do or is it something you think you “should”? Be careful with “should’s” they tend to hint at a hidden agenda, so think about what you really want to achieve.

How are you going to make this happen? Try making a pie chart of the way you spend your time. In a healthy week about 1/3 of the pie is taken up with sleeping, fill in the hours that you spend working, studying, watching TV, reading, emailing, blogging, exercising, socialising…and work out how the wedge of your resolution fits the pie.

When are you going to start doing this? What are your natural rhythms? What times of the day are you most mentally alert or physically active – how does the new activity fit into your daily demands?

Here are some tips for the “Big 3” of New Year’s Resolutions:

smoking If you want to give up smoking think about why and when you smoke – boredom, alcohol, as a break from work, when around other smokers, to relax…when you know your triggers you can plan ways to avoid and replace them. Eg: a walk to relax, some non-smoking venues like movies for entertainment, even a little knitting can keep those fingers occupied.

Consider seeing a hypnotherapist if you can’t do it alone. I have found this much more successful, healthier and cheaper overall than patches and gum.

Note for women – don’t start your non-smoking resolution while you are pre-menstrual!

Fitness Go back to the why/when/how and work out when you can schedule your exercise. Keep as much variety in your movement as possible – walks, skipping rope, flying a kite, playing with children in the park, swimming are as valid as signing up at the gym or for yoga or pilates. Try as many activities as you can. Get a pedometer and never slip below 10,000 steps a day. Try a few bursts of energy each day to do something that increases your heart rate.

Weight loss So much of “dieting” is based on lack or a skewed body image. Check out your BMI. Do not aim for weight loss if it is less than 18.5.

Focus on what you are including more of in your diet, rather than on what you need to avoid. Aim for at least 7 different vegetables and 3 fruits EVERY day. Make unrefined plant foods the base of your eating, so there is less room for refined, sugary and fatty foods. Have 2-3 litres of water a day.

Do some meal planning and schedule the time to shop and cook regularly.

If you need help consider a program that focuses on taking responsibility for your own food like Weight Watchers rather than a meal replacement program.

So many resolutions tend to be body centred, but regardless of what you wish for – check in to see if your MIND and SPIRIT are also being nourished. The more balanced you are, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. So remember to spend time in nature, amongst beautiful things, appealing smells, pleasing touch, laughter, mental stimulation, time alone and with community.

Have a great year.


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